Ancient Remedies for Anxiety and Depression
Synopsis: There are several methods prescribed in the ancient texts to help with depression, anxiety and emotionally disturbed mental states. In this article we will understand the reasons and effects of few of these suggestions, namely, astaachala, prakriti spandan and many others.
The ancient scriptures mention few points, to help reduce anxiety, depression and / or emotionally disturbed states. If and when one finds themselves experiencing any anxiety or depression, these hacks equip them well to deal and manage them practically. They are based on spiritual wisdom and neuro science.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest and can interfere with ones daily functioning. The root of depression is loneliness and dis-connect with self, lack of belongingness and acceptance by the society. These simple hacks can be helpful for self, family, children, teenagers, elderly, colleagues, partner, friend or anyone dealing with them.
1) KUTUMBA ATMEEYATAA : Sense of Belongingness and Bonding
Analysis : For millions of years, humans have gathered around fire, exchanging stories and bonding. This helped them feeling protected and secure in numbers. This connection is lost in modern times where we live very isolated lives, dug deep in technology. This isolated behavior reduces and distorts the sense of belongingness and bonding overtime.
Action : Spend time together, eat around a common table, sit together, engage in story telling, exchange your events during the day, laugh together, be silly. One can teach kids more in these casual moments than the best schools on the planet. Studies suggest that the elders are much more happy and healthy in family setting.
Result : It is shown in studies that spending time with family and friends strengthens the individual making them more confident, happier and resilient to the ups and downs of life. This sense of security and belongingness, will ward off any loneliness, stress, depression and erratic action.
2) ANUSHAASIT KARMA : Disciplined Action
युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु ।
युक्तस्वपान्वबोधस्य योगो भवति दुःखहा ॥
भगवत्गीता : 6 अध्याय / 17 श्लोक
Meaning : Person who is disciplined in its habits, food, sleep and actions, can be free of any pain and sadness.
Analysis : Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, from the expectations and demands of others, from weakness and fear and doubt. Self discipline improves the mental health, brings stability and structure into a person’s life. It helps you channel your energy toward positive things. It shapes the life of a person and creates a uniformity in life in a systematic way.
Action : Few things you can do to help develop self discipline is to create goals and challenges, remove self doubt and temptations, start small, ask for help, create habits and rituals. If you want to learn more about it, here is link to How to Develop Self Discipline.
Result : Discipline will help you with creating a conscious attitude. It trains the mind and body, increasing focus on the goals and regulates your emotions. As a result, it provides more control over yourself and helps in managing and controlling anxiety and depression in a better manner.
3) SNEHA SPARSHANAM : Practice Gentle and Loving Touch
Analysis : It is scientifically proven that a loving touch lasting for more than 20 seconds releases oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is a neuropeptide, also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone”. It promotes feelings of love, social bonding and well-being. It’s even being tested as an anti-anxiety drug. Hugging, kissing, cuddling can all trigger oxytocin production.
Action : Practice gentle, loving, safe touch or hugging for the loved ones. Be respectful of the other’s wishes, if they want or do not want to be hugged. A loving touch of a hand on a person’s hand can also be as re-assuring as a hug. Make sure your intention towards the person is loving, healing and respectful.
Result : A gentle touch which makes the other person feel warm, safe and loved, can heal them emotionally and physically. It makes their mind, body and soul stronger. The loving intention is directly and scientifically transferred to the other person, bringing changes in the body chemistry.
4) ATMA SAUHARDA : Self Belief / Self Confidence
Analysis : We are taught a lot of subjects in the schools, except for about self. How to first understand, manage and grow ourselves. Only a secure, confident and well balanced person can help others and the society. Self belief and confidence is a spiritual hack which you can easily develop and follow.
Action : Every time you feel dull, bored, emotionally disturbed, restless, take a five minute time out and concentrate on your breathing. Practice slow and deep inhalation and exhalation. Observe and recognize the emotions arising within you. Observe it as if it is happening with another person, like your friend. Think of what you will tell your friend in that situation. Is there any action it can take to change it immediately ? If not then just accept it as it is and let go.
Result : This five minute mindfulness will bring neurological changes, shifting your mind set from anxiety, loss, helplessness to a clearer vision, calmer thinking immediately affecting your related actions.
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5) ASTAACHALA : Imbibe the Energy of Sun
Analysis : Sunlight increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is associated with improved mood, more energy, helping one keep calm, positive, and focused.
The sun’s UV rays help the body make Vitamin D, which is important for bones, blood cells, and immune system. It also helps the body absorb and use minerals, like calcium and phosphorus.
Scientists believe that 20-30 minutes of morning sun’s rays may shrink fat cells below ones skin’s surface, helping them be fit and healthy. There are several other neurological, physical, emotional benefits of Sun’s rays.The morning sunrise activates the Heart Neurons, making one a happy, joyful person.
The wavelengths at Sunrise and Sunset directly affect our brain centers.
Action : Be in the Sun. Few recent studies show that it also helps with Covid-19. Feel the life which is re-activated each day with the Sun. Listen to the birds, see the nature come alive and bloom. Observe the changing colors in the sky. Surya Namaskaar is a good exercise to let the energy of the Sun enter your cells and revive them.
Result : When you start the day with that feeling of joy and energized, the whole day falls in place and you are better equipped internally and emotionally to deal with the ups and downs of the day. Equip and recharge yourself everyday with this powerful method.
6) PRAKRITI SPANDAN : Be Part of the Nature
Analysis : Natureis part of us and we are part of nature. We are co-dependent and compliment each other. Nature is not only important for our existence and survival, but also fulfills, heals and nourishes our body, mind and soul.
Action : Try to be in and with nature as much as possible. It is a perfect place to use all of your five senses of sight, smell, sound, touch and taste. Feel the texture of grass under your feet, enjoy natures bountiful fruits, hear the birds, smell the fresh grass-trees-flowers, see the different colors and sketches of nature.
Result : When you feel through the five sense, different parts of the brain are activated, releasing different hormones. Thus soothing, repairing and healing where ever it is needed, including your soul.
7) SAMARPANDA : Surrender to the Divine
तेषामहम् समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसारसागरात् ।
भवामि नचिरात्पार्थ मय्यावेशितचेतसाम् ॥
भगवत्गीता : 12 अध्याय / 7 श्लोक
Meaning : A person who surrenders to me, I become its protector and help him in this world and beyond.
Analysis : Sleep and depression are deeply interlinked. One can follow the other. A disturbed sleep overtime, aided by other issues can lead to depression. Also vice versa, depression can lead to lack of sleep, further exaggerating the depression.
Action : When we take on all the responsibility on to ourselves with our limited beliefs, vision and powers, it is very easy to feel over-whelmed and lose control. If before going to sleep, laying on the bed, we practice slow and controlled breathing. It increases the oxygen level in our brains, leading to a calmer state of mind. In that state of peace, thank the divine for all or any positive that happened during the day. Then, offer the problems that bothered you during the day, giving away the control on it for the night.
Result : You will get better sleep and will wake up refreshed to work on the previous issues with a new perspective.
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